Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend Adventures; New River Trail

This past weekend we went hiking on the New River Trail. The New River Trail is about 26 miles from us. We have hiked parts of it before, and this time decided to explore a new area.

We started in Hiwassee at the Trestle Bridge and hiked to Draper, which is about 4 mile hike one way. The Hiwassee Trestle is part of the New River Trail that follows the former railroad line used by the Norfolk & Western. The bridge was built in 1931 by Virginia Bridge and Iron Co. of Roanoke. The trestle is 951 ft (290 m) long.

This is a view of the New River/Claytor Lake from the trestle. Claytor Lake was formed when Appalachian Power Company built a dam on the New River, in 1939. This is the largest of the power company's 12 hydroelectric plants. The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the US, and possibly the world. It is also the only major river that flows South to North.

The trestle bridge was really quite massive and rather impressive.

All along the trail we saw the dried remains of Wineberries which are now out of season. Wineberries are an invasive plant originally from Asia. They are very similar to wild raspberry. They can be distinguished by the fuzzy hairs along the stems, and star-shaped sepals.

We didn't see a lot of wild flowers this time of year, but we did see a few. Sweet pea flowers. i love the way these smell.

Pale touch-me-nots along the trail.

Spicebush Swallowtail on some type of thistle.

The trail followed the New River all the way to Draper. The trail was up above the water, and had many nice views of Claytor lake, but never actually had access to it, which was a bit disappointing. The kids were hoping to stop along the trail and play in the water.

We used to do family hikes almost every weekend. This summer we have stayed much closer to home, hiking on our own property, playing in the creek and just hanging around the yard. This summer has really been too hot to do a whole lot of hiking. Now that the temps are starting to cool down slighty (80's instead of 90's) i am hoping that we'll get out and do a bit more exploring. This area is brimming with nature and birding trails, and Natural history.
Although in all honesty, i have quite enjoyed our laid back lazy summer.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos. It must have been quite the adventure!